COLUMBIA – Frustrated Missourians packed the road outside the Stoney Creek Inn Wednesday to voice their displeasure with Missouri’s 4th Congressional District U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler, saying she should have more local public appearances.
Hartzler stopped in Columbia for a financial services round table forum sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Registration cost $20 and nearly 100 financial service companies and businesses attended.
The advocacy group, Peace Works, organized the protest and close to one hundred Missourians lined up along Old Route K to advocate for more active, progressive policy.
Hartzler did not comment on the protests. A spokesman at the event acknowledge the presence of the protesters but said panel members wanted to keep the focus on the planned agenda and no one would take questions about what was happening outside.
Protester Sharon Feltman, a Columbia resident, said “I’m specifically concerned that our rep, Vicky Hartzler, is not holding any open town meetings. I think she needs to hear from her constituents, not just those who support the agenda of the administration, but also those who may disagree.”
The advocacy group, CoMo for Progress, hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday night, with the intention of reaching Hartzler or one of her representatives. Many left disappointed when no one associated with Hartzler attended.
“We had a town hall last night, and she was invited two different times, and she couldn’t have the decency to show up or even send a representative,” Columbia resident Pat Holt said. “She’s just an arrogant person who’s entrenched in her gerrymander district.”
Many protesters said they feel it is a troubling sign and that Hartzler is out of touch with her constituents.
“It shows that, to her, we are not important,” Columbia resident Caryl Bryan said. “We don’t deserve her attention, her time to listen to us and reason with us. They are not concerned with dialogue to try and work things out.”
Holt said, “We want her to listen to us, not just get a paycheck. We don’t get a paycheck. She wants to cut my Social Security. She needs to deserve her paycheck.”
Many said their motivation comes with a fear for the next few years and what their children’s future will look like.
“This is our life. These are our lives and they are making decisions that relate to how we’re going to live our lives,” Feltman said. “I feel like she’s way off on the edge. It’s really horrifying and frightening. I’m really nervous about the next four years.”
Holt said, “We need to keep this country clean for my grandchildren. I want them to have clean water, I don’t want fracking and I don’t want coal miners going back in the mines.”
Hartzler attended the financial round table with Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer, who serves as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Missouri has four of its eight congressmen sit on the Financial Services Committee, the most for one state.
At the meeting, attendees discussed the current state of the financial services business, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and prepare for what might occur in March, April and May as Congress debates changes in the financial markets.